Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education

Department name when degree awarded

Agricultural Systems Technology and Education

Committee Chair(s)

E. J. Maynard


E. J. Maynard


It has been advocated by many sheep raisers and individuals interested in the wool industry of Utah, that wool manufacturing should become a leading industry of this state. Factors which seemingly corroborate such contentions are readily apparent. Utah's annual wool clip ranges between eighteen and twenty-five million pounds of wool.(1)*. The state is located in the center of the Western range states where the bulk of the higher quality wool of this country is grown. A part of the marketing costs of freight, commission charges to a limited extent, and high storage costs could be decreased. These savings would result in higher prices of raw wool. Sheep growers would also have an opportunity of observing the manufacturing process and thus learn to recognize the characteristics of better quality wool.

Furthermore, an abundance of electric power and fuel is available. Soft water, which facilitates the scouring of wool, is readily obtained. With the establishment of such an industry, there would be vast opportunities for employment ranging from unskilled laborers to skilled and technical experts. The financial benefits which would accrue to the people of the state would materially bolster its present industrial status.

Conditions which make the issue controvertible are not lacking. The necessity of tremendous capitalization to put the industry on a comparable basis with Eastern corporations, the further necessity of specialization for maximum economic efficiency (2) and the existence of discriminative freight rates in favor of central distributing centers are potential obstacles, some of which would be difficult to overcome. This is especially true of developing a wool manufacturing industry vast enough for specialization. The Bradford district of England has developed a specialized industry (2) and the New England interests of this country are tending toward the same policy (3). The period of slow gradual evolution which a relatively recent industry. would of necessity undergo in becoming established, would put it at a serious disadvantage in competing with similar but more firmly entrenched firms of New England. The means of meeting this competition by adolescent establishments of this region, may be possible by developing a marketing service difficult to meet by Eastern industries and by producing a peerless quality of goods that would be difficult to replace.

Thus, it is the object of this thesis to investigate the possibilities of utilizing Utah wools in a home industry, wool manufacturing, perhaps as it is practiced in Australia, where the less saleable wool is used in wool manufacturing, whereas the choice wool is sold as raw wool. To adequately analyze such a possibility, it is necessary to review the practices of marketing wool which have been employed to dispose of the large surplus which has existed since shortly after the pioneers came into Salt Lake Valley in 1847 (4) and which may be expected to exist in the future.

The disposal of the wool surplus which has become a basic agricultural commodity of Utah has been fraught with dissension throughout the history of the state. Factors which have been instrumental in causing dissatisfaction among wool growers are the lack of close contact between grower and buyer, the wide fluctuation in wool prices with a resulting element of speculation and a lack of satisfactory grading and standardization of wool.

Disregarding the possibility of marketing the state's wool clip to a home industry and considering practices which have been in vogue and which have been adopted in other places than Utah will provide an analysis of the marketing problems which have in the past faced the Western wool grower and which are today still an important issue.

To the casual observer, it might seem that wool marketing is today a subordinate interest among the wool producers of this country. It is true that on December 24, 1929 a progressive step was fostered by the United States Government toward effective, cooperative wool marketing when the National Wool Marketing Corporation was formed under the auspices of the Federal Farm Board (5). An utopian marketing system has been attained by no means as yet, however. Economists would further expalin the current reticence of better marketing advocates on the basis of low prices. During a period of low prices, the primary interests of the grower are concerned with efficient production and decreasing production costs. It is obvious that such considerations are of first importance.

On a rising price market, more obscure problems such as marketing, are attacked. Thus, those persons who contemplate higher prices may expect within the next few years to observe a repetition of marketing controversies. Coping with obsolete methods of preparing the clip for market, grading methods, cooperation, efficiency of existing cooperatives, and more diverse considerations such as commodity advertising and improved processing will become timely and universal. It is on the basis of such an assumption that I propose to study "A History of Wool Manufacturing as it is Related to Wool Marketing in Utah," the title of my thesis.